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New Zealand, 2020 Summer Regatta
Napier Sailing Club, Napier
28 - 29 November
By Steve McDowell
Twenty boats gathered for this year's East Coast Champs, the forecast for Saturday was for a light variable southerly. Then a switch to a more traditional sea breeze direction in the afternoon, being as there were close to 250 boats at this regatta and with the OK's being on the outer course there was a decent 35min sail to the start line. Fortunately, the breeze was around 15-18 knots, and the fleet enjoyed a nice downwind ride, this would be the most wind seen all weekend.
Race one got underway in the dying southerly breeze, World Champion Dan Slater got out to an early lead but was closely followed by Steve McDowell, there was a gap back to the chasing pack of Luke O'Connell, Rod Davis and Chris Fenwick. Slater and McDowell were able to have a small tacking duel up to the finish, Slater edging out McDowell with O'Connell closely following with Davis and Fenwick not too far behind.
Race two got underway, and the breeze started dying, the leading pack of O'Connell, McDowell, Gary Lock and Dave Hoogenboom quickly jumped out to a big lead starting at the pin end and riding the breeze all the way to the top mark, the main chasers including Slater ending up almost a leg behind by the time the leading boats had done their first lap. The race committee decided to abandon the race at this point with more than a few sighs of relief from further down the pack.
For the re-sailed race two and three, the breeze shifted around to the easterly direction, with massive shifts and variable pressure over the course Slater and O'Connell master the conditions to both score a first and second each but with O'Connell still managing to take out the famous Tiki! Other notable performers were Davis with two third-place finishes and some tight tussles between Chris Fenwick and Greg Salthouse for the fourth to fifth places.
Day two saw a nicely building northerly breeze of around 14-16knots Davis got off to a flying start closely followed by Slater and O'Connell, McDowell was lurking in about fifth at the top mark and with the leading pack sailing slightly high down the first reach he took the most of the opportunity to sail low and take the lead by the wing mark and then extend from there to win comfortably followed by Slater, O'Connell, Davis and Salthouse.
Race five got quickly developed into a shifty affair, with the breeze dying not long after the start local hero's Ed Goody and John Shirley came reaching in from the right and corner up the first beat to lead Slater around the top mark, it didn't take Slater long to re-gain the lead, O'Connell managed to sail well from this point, but Slater was too far in front for him to put any real pressure on, Salthouse again sailed well to take third followed by Fenwick.
Overall Slater won from O'Connell and McDowell, with Davis, Salthouse and Fenwick also putting in good showings.
'Newbie' John Cutler was showing moments of brilliance (as you would expect!) and will be one to watch out for as he gets to grips with the OK.
|1||Dan Slater||No Name||562||1||1||2||2||1||7||5|
|8||Adrian Coulthard||Carbon copy||588||7||12||9||11||6||45||33|
|11||David Hoogenboom||White Noise||563||11||9||7||12||11||50||38|
|13||Dean Coleman||Grey Matter||568||16||10||12||14||16||68||52|
|18||Edward Goody||Flying T||531||19||17||18||17||12||83||64|
|20||Graham Lambert||Rough Red||475||20||19||DNC||19||DNC||100||79|
DNC, OCS, BFD etc.: 21pts